Halfway between two elections - summary


Halfway between two elections - summary

Republikon Intézet

Republikon Institute held a conference on May 11th 2023 about the state of the Hungarian opposition between the 2022 national election and the 2024 local and European Parliament elections both from a political analyst and a politician pont of view. Furthermore, the actual significance, meaning and potential strategies of these elections were mentioned.


At the beginning of the event, Gábor Horn, the chairman of Republikon Foundation held a speech, in which he thanked the presence of the invited experts and politicians. In addition, he also mentioned that the 2024 elections will be a special case, because the local election will require a „pressure of co-operation” among the opposition parties, while at the EP election, they will a chance to compete individually to test their actual support.

First panel discussion: Bound together, what doesn’t belong together – POV of experts:

Balázs Böcskei, the research chairman of Idea Institute said that one of the disadvantages of the Hungarian political analysis is that crisis is often suspected behind popularity. Furthermore, he thinks that the 6 opposition parties should be considered as 2+4 because of the potential winners, Democratic Coalition (DK) and Momentum. In the end, he also mentioned that the index of politics is support, which shows how strong a community is, which means that parties with low support don’t really have actual supporters, only voters, who are against Viktor Orbán.

According to Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, the chairman of Nézőpont Intézet, the current state of parties haven’t changed since the 2022 national election, because Fidesz still has 50%, the left-wing opposition 40% and the far-right party Mi Hazánk 10% of support. Meanwhile, the campaign of Fidesz admits that the country has problems, but the origins of these coming from „outside, not inside”. Finally, he said that the lack of (financial) sources isn’t a good excuse from the opposition, because Fidesz had already won 3 elections with limited budget.

Andrea Virág, the director of strategy of Republikon Institute also believes that neither the government, neither the opposition haven’t changed since last national election. Furthermore, she thinks that in a classic democracy, there is always a never-ending fight between the current governing party and the opposition, but in Hungary’s case, the voters only oppose the government in individual cases. In the end, she mentioned that smaller parties are still part of the opposition because of their politicians, for example Párbeszéd because of the lord mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony.

Tibor Závecz, the founder of Závecz Research thinks that the greatest problem of the „colorful” opposition is that voters can’t really identify with them on an emotional level. He also spoke about that parties having co-chairs can have negative effects, because it isn’t obvious who has to take the most responsibility. Finally, he believes that in the case of municipalities of Budapest, mayors can partially diverge from their party, while the popularity of the Fidesz party is higher, than their actual politician’s support.

Second panel: New challenges ahead of the opposition

Gergely Arató, the deputy leader of DK’s faction talked about the three main consequences they had drawn from the 2022 elections: left-wing, social democrat content is necessary for a well-functioning opposition coalition; the opposition has to convince voters that they would be able to govern, and last but certainly not least the importance of building networks. He thinks that instead of trying to attract former Fidesz voters, the opposition should focus on the undecided group of voters.

Antal Csárdi, representative of LMP argued that instead of advocating for symbolic causes, parties should focus on giving real solutions to real problems. Csárdi added that in his opinion the diversity of the opposition is not a weakness, on the contrary they should make use of this characteristic. He also mentioned that he thinks the strengthening of parties is the means, rather than the end.

Ferenc Gelencsér, the president of Momentum opened with the strong claim that many opposition politicians are unable to recognize – even after 13 years - which tools and tactics have been proven to fail. He argued that going out to the streets and actions similar to the Nolimpia movement of 2017 are needed in order to weaken the power of the government little by little. He thinks it is obvious that opposition parties will have to cooperate at the 2024 municipal elections.

Márton Gyöngyösi, the president of Jobbik claimed that it was an incorrect assumption that in case of a political coalition the votes that would be cast separately for each party add up. He thinks it would be more practical and efficient if parties stepped back at the municipal elections and politicians who have local support and know about the local issues ran at the elections (instead of party candidates). According to this idea, parties should only have a coordinating role alongside the candidates.

Gergely Kovács, co-president of the Magyar Kétfarkú Kutyapárt talked about the in-house vote, after which they had decided that the party will run separately at the 2024 municipal elections. He also mentioned that their party has expanded in terms of human resources, thus they were able to hire regional coordinators, who could play a significant role in the mobilization of passive voters.

Ágnes Kunhalmi, co-chair of MSZP said that their party had been holding its political position in the preceding year, but it is hard to tell what results that will bring at the 2024 European Parliament elections. She added, MSZP initiated negotiations with the opposition parties about cooperation at the 2024 municipal elections. In her opinion Fidesz has begun the transformation of the social system and is shifting increasingly to the right.

Tímea Szabó, the faction leader of Párbeszéd-Zöldek said that opposition parties should find ways to work in an effective way separately both towards their own goals and the common goal of changing the government. Szabó mentioned the importance of ’competitive cooperation’ and highlighted the fact that in most of his speeches Viktor Orbán focuses on trying to shed negative light on the opposition instead of promoting his own government.

 Eu Co Funded En

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.